We are disheartened by the partial withholding of U.S. military support from Israel while the threats from Hamas and other actors hostile to Israel are acute, and when the U.S.-Israel partnership should be at its strongest.

We urge the Biden administration to communicate clearly that this action does not erode its full commitment to the security of the State of Israel, and its support of the critical objectives of returning the Israeli hostages held by Hamas and of eliminating Hamas’ capacity to govern Gaza or present a serious military threat.

U.S. support for Israel’s security remains essential. While withholding 2,000-pound bombs intended for an operation in Rafah does not put Israel’s existence at risk or even make an operation in Rafah impossible, it sends a discordant message at a time when Hamas is holding out on a hostage deal in the hopes that pressure will grow on Israel and it will gain a ceasefire without having to give anything in return.

We have long argued that the effective delivery of humanitarian aid and the development of a post-war strategy for Gaza are in Israel’s interest and would be critical to maintaining U.S. and international support for Israel’s fight against Hamas. Israel’s failure to align its strategy with its only indispensable ally—particularly in the wake of seven months of unprecedented U.S. support on numerous security and diplomatic fronts—has eroded that support, emboldened Israel’s detractors, and precipitated this unfortunate action.

A military operation in Rafah is supported by a broad spectrum of Israelis, and Hamas’ leadership hiding amidst the civilian population there must be held to account for launching this war on October 7. In advance of any Rafah operation, the U.S. and Israel urgently need to coordinate on a credible plan to remove civilians from harm’s way. There must also be a viable Israeli exit strategy and political alternative to Hamas rule in Gaza to ensure that a Rafah operation can lead to strategic success.

We are deeply concerned that with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Biden facing political pressures, the tensions between them will only increase, harming everyone in the process and threatening joint U.S. and Israeli interests.

We urge the Israeli government to work with the United States to ensure close coordination in the critical days ahead, to align on a plan to bring the fighting in Gaza to an end without leaving Hamas’ military capabilities in place, and, most pressingly, to secure the return of all Israeli hostages while a significant number remain alive.

U.S.-Israel tensions at this critical juncture only serve the interests of the enemies of both, and it is incumbent on both sides to get beyond the current challenges.